Commissioners Court hears update on $12M courthouse annex, $10M jail expansion

Construction of a planned Medina County Courthouse annex building and expansion of the Medina County Jail are one step closer to reality after County Commissioners awarded Teel Construction the position of Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) for the projects in the Commissioners Court meeting on Jan. 31.
The County is in contract negotiations with Teel to oversee the projects, which are estimated at $12 million for the annex and $10 million for the jail expansion.
Representatives from DRG and RVK, the San Antonio architecture firms chosen to design the projects, presented Commissioners with updated site plans for each.
The two-story courthouse annex will house the County Clerk, County Treasurer, Commissioners Court, Elections office, Human Resources, and an auditor on the ground floor, while the top floor will consist of the District Clerk’s office and two large courtrooms.
The two floors share a similar layout, making the building flexible for future growth.
“So 10 or 15 years from now if we need another courtroom and the court decides to keep it in that building, we could build a new building for the Treasurer, the auditor, and HR, and move a third big courtroom into there,” County Judge Chris Schuchart said.
The possibility of constructing a third floor and leaving it empty until the space is needed was nixed due to cost.
“The estimate they gave us to even shell out for a third floor was far more than it would cost us if we were to buy land around here and put our future expansion in other places,”  Schuchart said. “I’m in the process of contacting people that have land around there and buying that, so when we need to expand, this court will decide how, but we will have the land to expand to.”
The jail expansion will increase inmate capacity from 96 to 192, as well as increase the size of the sally port and create a separate jail entrance, leaving the front of the building as access to the Sheriff’s office and courtroom.
“[The architect’s] already got it dotted out where the next 96 beds go, so whenever, some day in the future when this court has to expand it again, we know where it’s going to go,” Schuchart said.
Upgrades will also be made to the booking and processing areas, the kitchen, and the laundry room.
Bench seating will be added to the courtroom and several additional rows will be added to increase capacity. Any additional courtrooms that are necessary in the future will be added to the front of the facility.
“I think we’re going to always try to keep our jail docket at the jail,” Schuchart said, “and we can grow another courtroom out that direction 10 or 15 years from now.”
By Marly Davis
Staff Writer